Millions of people gather today for what stands to be the largest environmental and global justice protest in history.
Millions of students and young adults around the world are taking to the streets today as part of the Global Climate Strike, which seeks to pressure international bodies, corporations, and governments to take aggressive action to combat climate change.
And the youth is not alone—hundreds of companies and organizations have pledged to join as well in what stands to be one of the largest environmental protests in history. All in all, thousands of events are planned across more than 150 countries.
A historic march
The strike comes days ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit, which is set to take place in New York City on September 23. The march will be followed by the grassroots movement known as Earth Strike on September 27, which demands immediate climate action from politicians worldwide.
At the center of the event stands young activist Greta Thunberg, who's gained international renown for her efforts to shame governments and corporations into taking action.
“Together, we will sound the alarm and show our politicians that business as usual is no longer an option. The climate crisis won’t wait, so neither will we,” the organizers' site reads. "Our hotter planet is already hurting millions of people. If we don’t act now to transition fairly and swiftly away from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy for all, the injustice of the climate crisis will only get worse. We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations, and climate justice at its heart."
The issue has indeed gone far beyond an environmental problem. With millions of people negatively affected already and millions more about to be hit by the effects of the climate crisis, and considering the fact that it's those populations who do the least damage that'll be hit first and hardest, the affair has turned into an issue about justice.
A call for global justice
It is unjust, for example, that island nations that contribute the least to carbon emissions will have to struggle with rising sea levels. It's unfair that poor countries around the equator, who have too little infrastructure to even produce as much waste as developed nations, will need to deal with intolerable and ultimately lethal temperatures, while richer nations far towards the north or south, the ones whose industries are actually the leading cause behind climate change, sit comfortably in their ivory towers.
Sure, the climate crisis will impact poor and rich nations eventually, but the richer ones will suffer less and will be struck later. In other words, the guilty will reap the rewards of their crime while the innocent will end up paying for it.
Another injustice lies in the fact that today's climate catastrophe is being driven by older generations who won't live long enough to see the devastating effects of their actions, while young people will have to live with the consequences and clean up the mess—if that's even possible.
That is what this global strike is about: seeking justice. And that is why it's so important to support it in any way we can. We're talking about the future—ours and our children's. If that's not worth striking for, I don't know what is.
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